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20 December 2021

A year like no other: a reflection on 2021 from our CEO

by Lucy Nickson

Day One Lucy 1

Lucy Nickson is CEO at Day One Trauma Support. She started her career as a nurse and health visitor before embarking on a leadership career across the NHS, commercial and charity sector. Here, she looks back at an eventful year for Day One.

Realising a vision

I’m sure there are many clichés being used to reflect on the period we have all been through recently. I can honestly say that I have never led an organisation in such unusual and challenging circumstances. Not only led, but essentially established a new organisation with all the associated complexities and challenges.

Day One is now a national charity – that feels good to say because it means we have begun our journey of reaching out to all those affected by major physical trauma, wherever and whenever they need us. We can begin to shape our purpose way beyond the charity’s early and hugely important roots. Our founder and president Professor Peter Giannoudis had a vision for improving support to people affected by major trauma, and it is now my responsibility to translate that vision into reality. I do this alongside a dedicated team of people both volunteering and working for Day One.

Our caseworker Berenice supported a young mum who had her leg amputated after being hit by a car.
Her life has changed forever, and she may never return to work.
We provided her, and family, with counselling, and got her legal and benefits advice so she could pay off her mortgage and access rehabilitation facilities.
We’ve given this young woman, and her family, the best possible chance of recovery and hope for their future.

It’s been seven months since we launched as an independent national charity and in that time we have supported more than 200 families – a quarter of those through Aintree Major Trauma Centre, where we started supporting people in May. We have raised more than £40k through two successful fundraising events and received a commitment of nearly £500,000 in support from other key partner donors.

Day One 75 Miles cycle group

Working together to make a difference

This year hasn’t just been challenging for us. I find myself thinking about those affected by major trauma - patients alone in hospital and very often families unable to visit. I can’t imagine how much harder that must make it for people in the immediate aftermath of major trauma.

In usual times our Peer Support Volunteers, who have lived through trauma themselves, can spend time with newly impacted patients, sharing their experience and offering hope. Sadly, this hugely important work has also been hampered by Covid, with volunteers having to provide support remotely.

We have also missed supporting our dedicated clinical colleagues who we know have been pushed to their limits saving lives in trauma care while dealing with a global pandemic.

I am so proud of what we have achieved and am so grateful to everyone who is getting behind our ambition. I can’t name everyone personally who has supported Day One, but the list includes patients, families, clinicians, business and the wider health, social care and charity sector professionals and volunteers. Thank you to you all.

As part of our Big Give Christmas Challenge, Shafqat Ali shared his story. It’s two and half years since his devastating car crash and he’s only just returned to work part-time. He still suffers flashbacks and nightmares. The legal case is still ongoing.
Day One is still here for him and his family.

Day One Shafqat Ali and Dennis Bailey cropped

The beginning of a long journey

This is the beginning of our journey, and we are under no illusion about the size of our ambition and the need for our support being matched.

We want to close the gaps that exist in trauma care and reduce the inequity that people face in their rehabilitation and recovery journeys. We know that many people do not have access to the aftercare they need and that the impact of major trauma can never be overstated. People’s lives changed in an instant, people stopped in their tracks, unsure where to get the help they need.

The physical and psychological impact of injury is huge with around 1/3 of major trauma patients acquiring a physical disability and a 40 percent increased chance of mental health illness, with 70 in every 100,000 patients taking their own life.

This is unacceptable.

Whether it’s emotional, physical, or financial support, we owe it to every single patient - past, present and future - to be there for them from day one and for as long as they need us.

So, as I look back into 2021, my thanks again to each and every one of you who has shown support. We are extremely grateful and look forward to sharing more wonderful news about how we are helping many more people in 2022 and beyond.

To find out how Day One can support you, or start working in your area, contact us.
We are expanding to other Major Trauma Centres over the coming months and rely on donations to make this happen.
You can support our work in Aintree, Leeds, and beyond by making a donation today.

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